Anime Reporter returns to the world of Witch Hunter, (or Witch Buster, if you’re American), to take a peek at Volumes 11-12 of witch-clobbering action. If you’re new to the series, check out the Anime Reporter review of the first volumes here.
If you insist on venturing further, be warned.
Witch Hunter has been a series which has gone through some high and low points in a short time. While its humour and mythological premise were interesting and enjoyable at first, these soon faded into the background, obscured by thinly woven plots surrounding witches that we were assured are evil and the general idea that they spend a lot of time meeting together and plotting sinister things. When that wasn’t happening, action and exposition felt like little more than opportunities to put a variety of cleavage on display in the place of a meaningful storyline.
Well, there’s certainly no more of that!
Though… that’s clearly not to say that the series doesn’t continue to go out of its way to showcase heaving bosoms and ridiculous poses on a near constant basis, it just seems to have found a way to tie this into a well-paced, character-driven plot.
For both volumes, the story focuses on Xing (Yue? Xing? Yue…? The good one… The one who works with WH) and the hectic goings on within the Bairong Empire. Xing is brought face to face with his brother and it’s far from a joyful reunion. These two princes can’t quite wait to destroy the other, with little care for collateral damage. While this rather macho squabble is taking place, Xing’s supporter, Visul demonstrates what she’s really made of. This melee-maiden may be ranked D-class by WH standards but they should probably start re-thinking their classification methods after they see her thrown down against a pair of sadistic, but disarmingly adorable witches. We’re treated to a few important details about Visul’s life before leaving the Bairong Empire and she proves to be a wholly interesting and complex character that will hopefully feature more prominently in the series in the future.
Tarras, the earth-manipulating powerhouse who’s more or less been a side character thus far is thrust neatly into the spotlight…
For a few pages before fading into the background for the rest of the two volumes.
The focus here is well and truly on the Bairong Bros, (They should totally start a boy band with that name). We’re given the low-down on exactly what happened after the great emperor switcheroo and it’s actually a major relief to have a solid, fast-paced plot within the two volumes. It’s perhaps best to avoid details regarding the fall of the Bairong Empire, but suffice it to say, there’s a busty handmaiden, an untrustworthy civil servant and a surprising amount of heart involved in the tale.
The conspiracy and covert threats surrounding this storyline have proved to be far more engaging than the story arcs of the series’ protagonist, Tasha Godspell, and Volumes 11 and 12 made for a much more satisfying reading experience than the last four. There is slightly less humour to enjoy than in some previous volumes, but the character development and the emotional payoff of 11 and 12 are utterly refreshing. This series had been waning in my estimation for a while now and this storyline has somehow managed to pique my interest. If you’ve just about given up on Witch Hunter as a series, I’d recommend a peek at these two volumes, they might just bring you back to the fold.
Witch Hunter manhwa Volumes 11 and 12 are currently available in English from Seven Seas Entertainment, whose site can be found here.
Plot Development: 9
Character Development: 8.5
81% – “A Breath of Fresh Air” – Witch Hunter returns to top form, offering up a much stronger and more dynamic storyline and characters you might just care about. If you’re on the fence about this series, this is about as good as it gets.